Facts:
Issue: Does P have a right to unobstructed air and light on D’s adjoining property that
will stop D from building a structure that will be of benefit to it and the economy?
Can P stop the building of D’s structure if it is found that the structure is being
built partly out of spite?
Holding: Reversed. P had no cause of action against D and therefore the injunction
against construction must be reversed.
Rationale:
– The maxim based on not using land to injure another is not equivalent to a
complete immunity for neighbors that no one may ever use their property to do
injury to them, but only means that one must use his property so as not to injury
the lawful rights of another. There is no American case law that suggests a land
owner, in the absence of some contractual or statutory obligation, has a legal right
to the free flow of light and air across the adjoining land of his neighbor.
– A land owner has no legal right in the absence of an easement to uninterrupted
use and enjoyment of his land for a period of 20 years to unobstructed light and
air from the adjoining land. Neither is the English doctrine of “ancient lights”
ever been enforced in this country.
– There is no cause of action against the buildings of a structure on adjoining
property if it serves a beneficial purpose, even if it was erected partially out of
spite
– Public policy does not demand that a land owner may not caste a shadow on
adjoining property owners. A proposed ordinance for such an idea was shot down
by the courts because it did not provide a comprehensive planning and zoning
ordinance
– Even if there was a violation of the 100 ft. from bulkhead zoning ordinance, P
would still have no cause of action against D based on the violation. Even if D
were to move the plans back 23 feet, the controversy would still exist.